The Darkness of Summer

Gothic CathedralOn a dark night when the moon hovers behind red-tinged clouds and the only sound is the a pair of footsteps ringing out behind you on the brick streets, it’s not hard to believe that the cathedral’s gargoyles may come to life to serve some dark figure that haunts Utrecht. The city is a Gothic paradise.

Not surprisingly then, it’s been the home of the annual Summer Darkness festival that swarms the city every July/August. Goths, Lolitas, Steampunks, and other inhabitants of the underworld arrive from across Europe to connect, find new fashions, and listen to lots of music.

If you’re out and about in Utrecht this weekend and it all seems a bit darker and yet more colorful than usual, that’s because the Summer Darkness festival is back this weekend.
Patat Met Goth [Day 224/365]
Strike a Pose

There will be events around the city, as well as the usual market and stages at the Domplein. If you have an interest in portrait photography, it’s not hard to find willing subjects and the Pandhof offers a great setting. Plus, there are numerous fashion shows in the Domplein, with a crowd that’s often as interesting as the models.

Summer Darkness 2012
purple

I would have loved this festival back in my teens/early 20s, and to be honest, I still get a thrill from it all, even if I don’t recognize the names of most of the bands nowadays. That said, I do recognize a lot of the vinyl on sale in the market. Corrosion of Conformity, Christian Death, Tones on Tail, The Damned, TSOL, and so on.

Insanely hot weather be damned, I’m sure I’ll be back in the Domplein at some point this weekend with camera in hand and old memories in mind, and perhaps cash in pocket to buy some purple hair dye once again.

My Favorite
Haar

Summer Darkness 2012

Usually I don’t bother with words on Wednesday, and I don’t honestly have many for today. Just a few to explain that these are a few of the photos I took Sunday at the Summer Darkness events taking place at the Domplein. There was a market set up — where I found some great boots — as well as fashion shows taking place throughout the day. I was there relatively early, so I didn’t get the same selection of photos as in the past. Plus, the Pandhof was closed, which is usually a great spot for photos.

After my photos, check out the video at the end of the post. It’s a short piece showing the Domtoren carillon player performing Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”, one of three pieces specially performed to celebrate Summer Darkness’ 10th anniversary.

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness, And I Don’t Mean the Weather

Fashion
It’s that time of year again. Time for Summer Darkness, the dark alternative festival that comes to Utrecht every year. Considering Goth is a part of the festival, and Utrecht has its very own half-standing Gothic cathedral, it’s a match made in heaven. Or Hades. Depending on your perspective. All I know is that the little Goth girl in me of my teen years would have LOVED this festival. As it is, I’ve been tempted to go see Nitzer Ebb or Killing Joke when they perform this week as part of the festival.
Fashion Show

Fashion Show
As I’ve done the past couple of years, I will definitely head over to the Domplein to check out the fashion shows and outdoor market they set up for the weekend. It’s always fun for people watching, especially some of the visual contrasts that pop up.
Family Affair

Pretty Colours

All Types
As I said, the cathedral in Utrecht, which is located at the Domplein, is one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture in the Netherlands, so it’s an ideal setting for many of the festival attendees, as well as for all the photographers who swarm the Domplein to get some interesting photos of the visitors. It’s quite common to see photographers approaching some of the more interestingly dressed people to then head to the cloistered gardens for a Gothy photoshoot. It’s not just photographers, either. Lots of interviews take place there, as well.
Goth on Goth

Contrast

Model & Photographer

Photo Op

Haar
I don’t really the look the part anymore, and my Bauhaus t-shirt is a bit too snug now, but maybe I’ll buy one of the purple wigs they have each year in the market. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had purple hair.

High School Revisited

High School Revisited
I don’t know how wide-spread this is, but I’ve been seeing a lot of reproduction American-high-school lettermen jackets around town. It’s one of those strange fashion things that, as an American, gives me a bit of a giggle to see.

Sunday, while perusing the street festival lining Nachtegaalstraat, I saw this stall selling their own version of these classic jackets. It was a trip down memory lane for me, particularly with this blue and white jacket with the letter R. The high school I attended had jackets very similar to this — blue body, white sleeves — except the blue was a bit darker, I think. Even more nostalgic for me was the fact that my school’s letter was, indeed, R for Ragsdale.

I never bought the jacket, but I did earn my letter, although I have no idea what happened to it. I don’t think I’ve seen it in the past 15 years. You usually earn a letter through your participation in one of the school’s sports. Football, basketball, and baseball are the obvious ones, but track, soccer, and in my case, wrestling, were also included. Furthermore, you didn’t have to actually be the athlete to earn the letter. In my case, I was a wrestlette, which meant that I was one of a team of girls who set up the mats for the competitions/tournaments, kept score/time, and helped run tournaments held at our own school. It was its own form of work and was also a lot of fun. I’m glad I got involved and still enjoy watching wrestling. The gym at the school has recently been renamed in honor of the father of one of the girls I was a wrestlette with at the time. He has been very involved in high school wrestling over the years, so it was nice to see our neighbor (they lived on the street behind me) be honored for all of his hard work.

Haute Klompen

Platform Stiletto Clogs
I think I’m in love.

I love shoes. Clichéd, perhaps, but true. I particularly love shoes with pointy toes and high, thin heels. Sadly, I don’t get to wear them as often here, because the brick sidewalks and streets like to grab on to those thin heels and not let go. It ruins the look to be strutting along and suddenly walk right out of your shoe.

But I might give it another try just to be able to wear these shoes! Hilarious and gorgeous, all at once! I do like the platform stilettos that are all the rage these days, so I already like the silhouette of these shoes. When you add in that they’ve been made to look like the traditional Dutch klompen (clogs), they become irresistible in a kitschy, sexy kind of way!